"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

May 30, 2012

Yes You Can!

You have to want to get better in order to get better...  Today's writing is inspired by a story I came across, Bipolar and Proud: The Incredibly True Story of Andy Behrman  http://causes.msn.com/mental_health_month/#section=infographic.  After reading this piece I decided to look deeper into this story.  What hit home was one statement that Andy made after hearing a talk from a psychiatrist “my takeaway from the talk was that one had to want to get better in order to get better.  This really resonated with me, and motivated me to go the library and check out Andy' memoir Electroboy.  You see,  the meaning, understanding, action, and intention behind these words are something that I identify with and completely embrace.  In fact, often it is the underlying force behind one changing for the better. However, as I have come to know its not that simple.  Not only do you have to want to get better, you have to believe you can get better, and the most important part of the recipe, YOU HAVE TO COMMIT TO THE WORK NEEDED IN ORDER TO GET THERE!  Once again not shouting but demonstrating the importance of these words.  My writing is influenced by many sources and experiences that have come my way, and I would be negligent with my intention if I was unable to share with you, that the underlying source behind these words is my exposure to challenge, my struggle with it, and the learning and growth that comes with wanting to get better, believing I could, and committing to the work!

So, as I write away from the Los Angles Public Library immersed into my role as a participant observer, I breathe well.  I breathe well because I know that my words are able to allow others the opportunity to learn through my eyes.  My words come from that place that is cultivated from the experience of falling down along the way, but always striving to get up and move forward.  We've all heard the statement before "you can do it if you want to."  Sounds so simple, but in fact it is not.  Just like anything that is important to us, it takes not only our attachment to, but effort, practice, patience, trust, sacrifice, determination, resilience, and every day for the rest of your days.  Yes, it does and guess what?  When you feel that you are at this place, the hardest work is yet to come.  What do I mean by that?  The maintenance of well-being and self-care is the hard part.  Think about that statement for a minute...  Now, imagine a scenario in your daily movement that throws you off your path, taking you to a place that opens the door to negative and unhealthy outcomes, it is here that you must work, you must implement the coping mechanisms, well-being skills, and tools that you have worked so hard to achieve.  You may be thinking yeah, so?  Well, the so is that at these moments it is so easy to crash out, light up, drink down, and any other way that one copes in a unhealthy manner.  It is at these moments where you have to use all you have to stand up, stay up, and be strong.  The work never ends, never stops, it is a part of you, and until you get to this place, no matter how much you want to get better to be better, you probably will fall short, convincing yourself that I just can't do it right now, someday I will, tomorrow is a new day.  Nope, suppressing and avoiding aren't your friends on this path.

Thank you once again for allowing me to share through my lens, one that is straight from the heart, an experiential journey that has provided me with so many wonderful (teachable) moments.  I have wanted to get better so that I could be better for quite some time.  I can respectfully say that I am there, amongst the often moments that I still have working towards progress.  So, as the header at the top of this site states "Words with a voice, a story, and an opportunity to inspire others to change for the better!"  This is what resides beneath Can You Hear Me?  Until we meet again may this find you well, keep your head up and heart open, you'll find your way!

May 24, 2012

Helping You Help Yourself

Here we meet again, my words and your availability.  Today, I want to write about a subject matter that has been written about before.  It has been shared by many and it inspires all of us at one time or another to be who we want to be, someone who does better because they know better.  I was inspired this week by a resource that I shared with those that can hear me http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/live-your-life-well/others.  Doing good can make you feel good, it can help you in so many ways, whether it allows you to reflect on how fortunate you really are, or take your mind off the worries that do nothing other than...  Helping others really does help you help yourself.  I often think and reflect on how I have walked through, learned from, and acted upon this.  I know that my drive, and what truly inspires me to give is rooted in the opportunity to help someone else change for the better, feel heard, supported, and ultimately relevant in a world that is not always right or correct.  

Often, helping others doesn't take much more than being available and present.  I know this sounds familiar, and if you've been following our words you recognize that it is spoken about often.  The reason is because we feel it is fundamental and primary to the process of helping others help themselves.  If you are caught up, with your head down and your heart closed, you can not be available to others, let alone to yourself.  It happens on a daily occurrence, and if you know what you are looking for and at,  it is quite easy to recognize. I'm seeing it right now as I write away. You see, when I write I am not in a quite space, behind a desk, or in a closed room by myself.  Quite the opposite, I write at my spots in the middle of a community, immersed into diversity, action, and always an opportunity to observe.  I am a participant observer in every way, and I gain so much from this process and being a part of it, seeing what most walk right by.  Sensing it and seeing it all unfold right before my eyes empowers me, educates me, and truly enhances the skills and abilities one needs in order to be aware and grow.  If you are following me I am showing you that when you understand yourself, can see others for who they are, and what they are going through, helping others is within you.  

Helping others doesn't have to be forced or difficult to achieve.  Often times it is as simple as a smile, a nod of the head, or eye contact that conveys that I got you.  Until we meet again, as always keep that head up, let your heart breathe and help someone out from time to time, you will receive as much as you give!

May 16, 2012

Just Like That

Working toward progress, how about you?  Today has been all about that!  The focus has been on the psychological and emotional needs, you know those, the ones that can consume if you are not aware, finding you overwhelmed and compromised.  This is where I found my week beginning, in a manner that pushed me towards challenge.  It seemed like my friends, the ones known as "stressors"  all wanted to hang out with me at the same time.  The only problem here is that I wasn't available or ready to have this engagement.  Isn't that how it works though?  If it was the opposite than perhaps we could prepare for them, but that is not the way it often comes.  I get that, and I am so glad that I have acquired the necessary coping skills, and a healthy lifestyle that promotes well-being.  When you have this going on you can embrace these friends in a much more manageable way.  I'm aware of this, but as we all are human, when they come at once they still have an effect.  So, as I was working through it, recognizing what was not healthy, what I could control, and how I had to keep moving forward with action and purpose I found my opening, and a way back on the path that has my back.

It's always  a process, and one that changes direction when it wants to.  Let me explain it like this.  I knew how I was feeling, I knew the sources of what was influencing this, and I knew how to take the necessary steps to manage and get through it.  However, this doesn't change how it all affects and effects your feelings, state of mind, energy, confidence, motivation, ambition, and on and on.  Therefore, the process is all of it: recognizing, addressing, and working through it.  This is the homework that you don't always enjoy doing, but you know without it you are not improving or getting any closer to a positive outcome.  This is what I know to be true and what I will always model and speak to.  IF YOU DON'T DO THE WORK YOU DO NOT CHANGE FOR THE BETTER!  I know capitals are associated with shouting, but I'm not a shouter so in this case think of these words based on their importance and not their intensity.  As always I hope I have left you with an opportunity to learn, one you can identify with, relate to, and gain from.  This writing is all about the experiential practice, something that is too vital to miss, but always available.  No matter where you are at, or what you may be going through at those times when you least expect it, you will get through it and when you do that is when you move forward to that place that welcomes you unconditionally.

I leave you with the story of 9 year old Caine Monroy, brought my way by someone who holds a very special place in my heart.  I may be the last person in this world we are living in to hear about Caine's story, but none the less I am glad that I did.  It put a smile on my face while giving me strength in my heart.  Another fine example of the spirit of our youth and how they hold the key to many lessons and opportunities for perspective enjoy! http://cainesarcade.com/  Until we meet again you be well to your day and your day will be well to you!

"There is a solution to every problem as long as you don't fear the path to the solution."

~ Alonzo Mourning

May 12, 2012

Never Give Up

This video may seem familiar to you, in fact you may have seen it before on the Can You Hear Me? website http://www.canyouhearme.org/  This is not an attempt to self promote, but rather it is my goal of continuing to add to your toolbox, that place that shapes and influences your capabilities and abilities, that place that you reach towards where you will locate some motivation and inspiration when you find yourself on empty.  Our practice (how we help others in need) is developed and maintained by various sources.  No one's practice is the same, although we do learn from others (i.e. mentors, teachers, role models, and gatekeepers in the field).  One of the most influential learning sources is our own story.  The story that holds our challenges, our failures, our successes, our healing, and many other factors that have directly influenced our walk on our path. We learn so much from our own story, falling down, getting up, and growing towards.  Our story has taught us so much, and within that book, new chapters are written, and new books are developed.  We strive to work towards progress, while helping others along the way.  We model our story in our actions and words, in our empathy and understanding, we model with intention and purpose.

Life and how we move through it will always provide us with many lessons.  How we embrace these opportunities will dictate what outcomes await.  It is up to us, and when we continue to get up, stand up, and work towards possibility, life is...  The example I have given you is how your story and all that has shaped and influenced your path into this field of helping others is connected to the service you provide.  When you are well, when you are available and present, it is at these moments that you are at your best, and you haven't give up.  So live your passion, live your purpose, and live your dreams as you strive to help others change for the better!  Until we meet again keep walking with your head up, and heart open.

May 9, 2012

If You Can Really...

Glad to be back it has been a few.  Writing is such a wonderful tool to express, release, and share what truly resides in that place that we carry with us throughout our days, within our thoughts, dreams, and outcomes yet to come.  Writing for me captures all of that.  When I write my heart opens up, it breathes, and in turn the words come out with ease.  When my fingers hit the keys they move in stride with intention and purpose, in a manner that helps me rise up and speak.  Today, I want to share some thoughts that have been with me over the last few days.  I have been out there networking, meeting and collaborating, and sharing what I am striving to provide. I am living and breathing my passion, and the desire I have to help in a manner that is uniquely different for some to digest.  Let me explain.  You see, when you have such a clear vision and understanding of what your mission and goals are, it makes complete sense to you.  However, the part that is not so clear and certain is how others will interpret what you are sharing and providing.  Furthermore, if it's not something that they have heard before, have had involvement with, or see the purpose of, well then.  I can see this when I speak to it, I can feel it.  It is part of the process and it is not something I am running from, but quite honestly I am embracing with my head up and my heart open!

Although at times it is a challenge to not know when the opening will come.  Wondering when I will see the fruits of my efforts and preparation put into action?  However, I don't spend too much time trying to figure this out because I know it will happen when it is meant to, and in the mean time I have to continue to put it out there.  I have to continue to trust where I am at while I work on my craft.  I must stay present and always hold on to the reality, my reality that I am working towards progress.  After all, I am a work in progress and every moment is an opportunity to learn and grow.  If you haven't noticed yet my writing is my opportunity to model exactly what I am experiencing myself.  There is not a day that goes by where I am not adding to my goal of  empowering and supporting others to change for the better, so that they can help others in a manner that they never knew was possible.  If I have lost you let me help you find the way by saying this.  If you are out there working hard to provide to others (that are in such need of help) and you keep hitting the wall, but you can't figure out what you are doing wrong? You got the assessment down, behavior no problem, good with interventions, you've crossed everything off the list, what else is there?  Well there is always more, the profession of helping others is an evolving and learning field of service.  Point being, there is always more to learn and incorporate into your practice. Of course your clients bring much into the equation, but what I am helping you focus on is what you may be bringing in right along with them.  That list and how you may feel it helps you practice is one small part of how one can help another in need.  You see, when you are providing service to those in need, if you are not self-aware and well yourself you Can Not help someone else in a manner that has any opportunity of becoming effective or sustainable. So, if you are not available and present it is fair to say that you are not taking care of you.  One way to figure this one out for yourself is to know the difference, because when you are available and present you are in that place where you can truly feel and see the suffering of those you are trying to reach.  You are willing to ask the questions you have to ask.  In this space you clearly see how the dots connect, and the outcome is not your immediate focus?  Now everything you have in your toolbox comes naturally and instinctively, you hear me?  This conversation will continue as it should but for now I will stop here.

I thank you as always for allowing me the opportunity to open my heart and share.  I thank you for allowing me to reflect, and by doing so I am empowered in a manner that validates the words of Cornell West that I have come to understand "Go on. Move on. Do what needs to be done. Care for those who require care. Spread love wherever you walk. Spread love whenever you talk."  May this find you all well and as you move through your week striving to do what is right, keep walking with your head up and heart open, and it will come to you...

May 4, 2012

Can You Hear Me?

No matter what your day has provided.  No matter where your mind has taken you.  No matter what the next chapter looks like.  May you always remember that life affords us with the best learning opportunity available, and by doing so we become empowered, we survive, and we rise.  Be strong out there keep walking with your head up and heart open!

May 2, 2012

Practice What You...

As it goes so do we.  Today, I am reflecting on how my current schedule has taken me into a much busier existence.  For the last several days I have had plenty to do, much learning to digest, many tasks at hand.  I'm launching and maintaining a business, studying for my LCSW exam, recently hired as a Field Instructor for MSW students, and looking for P/T work in a clinical setting, and that doesn't even include my down time.  I'm diversified as they say, and that is a good thing as it all pertains to helping and supporting others, which as we know, when you give you receive.  I'm excited and engaged by the work, and by no means do I view this period as stressful or taxing.  However, as we all must embrace when our schedules are filled , it may not feel as though it is stressful or demanding, but...  Our physical and emotional well-being can be put into a vulnerable spot when we don't even see it coming.  The unconscious forces have a way about themselves.  This is something that I am mindful of, and something that motivates me to make sure that I take care of myself no matter what.  So, as I felt the demands over the last few, I made sure I was acting accordingly, balancing as best as I could, and staying true to my word!

My word and all that I bring into this platform that I share with all those that can hear me is:  in order to serve those in need in a positive, effective, and sustainable manner we must be well as the professionals providing the services and support.  What does this mean?  It means much, and it takes much, and if you are reading this and you are confused, CALL ME!  As change agents we are in the position to help others change for the better in a life changing, life transforming manner.  That is a powerful position to be in, and not the power based on control, fear, or any type of $ amount one may have.  No, we as change agents have a part in helping someone in need live the a quality of life that they want to, but often can't get to on their own.  A life that doesn't include abuse, violence, neglect, mental illness, incarceration, homeless, addiction, and on, and on.  Now, if you are in a position to help facilitate change for those dealing with these risk factors and you are not well, do I even need to explain.  The lesson today is practice what you speak to, the only way is to model it and live it, demonstrating what well-being looks like.  When I found myself on the go and running today I stopped, took a pause, three deep breaths and I went to the gym.  A place where I can put the headphones on,  music in my ears,  and disappear for a few while I release the strain.  Most importantly a place where I can breathe.  As you move forward I ask you to embrace the wisdom that has become knowledge based on personal experience.

Until we meet again be strong out there, walk with your head up and heart open and it will lead you down the right path.  Can You Hear Me?

"To learn, read, To know, write. To master, teach."~ Unknown